For most of us, redoing a room in our house can take months (even years!) from the time we start thinking about it until we're working on the finishing touches. Imagine compressing that process down to just over a month, and having only two weeks to get all the work done. Now think about doing that knowing the project will come under the scrutiny of your peers and the international press! Last week, we visited the Kips Bay Show House in New York and shared with you some of the incredible rooms on display there. One of our favorites was by the twin-sister team of Joan and Jayne Michaels, co-owners of 2Michaels, and we asked them to tell us some of what went into making the room, their inspirations, and the people they worked with. There were more than a few speed bumps along the way but, with the help of trusted colleagues, everything came out spectacularly.
photo from Kips Bay Facebook page
photo courtesy of 2Michaels
The wall, ceiling, and trim colors
The photograph from Sam Samore, hung on the wall of their room,
inspired the color palette.
We looked through books and old magazines for inspiration. Joan found a project in House and Garden from 1991. It was a meditation room, simple, quiet and timeless. Jayne found a project from a 1987 House and Garden that had a similar feel. We took the two inspirations and began our search for furniture.
"We tested about 20 colors before choosing the finals--for the molding, walls, ceiling. We usually test a lot of colors, but this time we tried even more than usual--because of the lighting and because it was such a small room. We wanted it to feel airy and light, so it was more difficult," Joan explained.
The sisters painted 4' x 8' Foamcore boards from Janovic Plaza and held them up in the space to see how the colors looked in different areas of the room. They started out with a gray color to make the white fireplace really pop, but it was too dark and didn't give them the light feeling they wanted.
"We decided on a yellowish-green, and we tested quite a few. Then we remembered that a friend of ours had Mellowed Ivory on her dining room walls that we loved. It was the perfect color for the room."
Trim is Timid White, ceiling is Sugar Cookie.
Left: Antti Lovag's house for Pierre Cardin in Tourrettes-sur-Loup, France.
Right: Stephen Antonson's fireplace at Kips Bay.
"The room is tiny," said Joan. "Our inspirations were Brancusi, a Pierre Cardin house, and Georges Jouve, the ceramicist. We gave artist Stephen Antonson some pictures as inspiration for the fireplace, and he got it immediately. At first, we thought his design was too small and were concerned we had no time to change it. But Stephen is so calm. He said, 'Just let it sing. It is what it is' . . . and, sure enough, it was the perfect scale, everything worked out."
Left: Lindsey Adelman's nest ceiling fixture.
Right: Last-minute Agostini branch lamp.
"The light fixture was actually very fun. We had Lindsey Adelman create a custom fixture for us, and she came up with a kind of nest concept. The hand-blown glass was a creamy yellow color--beautiful when we were picking out the glass samples, but it gave off more of a yellow light, which changed the colors in the room. So we had to counteract it by introducing more white light," said Jayne.
The tree-branch light in the corner was the last pick of the room. The team had only one day left, but found this Agostini lamp with 150 watt bulbs, enough to balance the color from the ceiling fixture and give an accurate paint color.
"A lot of what you do is about solving problems. It's all very exciting--what do you do when something isn't exactly working. Fortunately, plan B worked perfectly. It wasn’t what we had intended but sometimes plan B is better than plan A."
Left: "Our first idea for the Buddha was a 'floating' Buddha à la Roger Vivier . . .
I couldn't get the image out of my mind . . . but none of the Buddha's we found came
close to the image, so we had to rethink the idea . . ." said Jayne.
Right: Long-Bin Chen’s Buddha tower.
The team wanted some type of Buddha in the niche, but didn't want to have something typical, expected. Joan spent a week researching Buddhas--traditional, reconstructed, etc. "I came across Long-Bin Chen's work and I fell in love . . . It was glorious--finding it a week before, exactly what I wanted, something a little offbeat . . . it turned out the piece was the perfect scale for the niche."
Color-wise, Jayne originally wanted an orange in the niche because it would be very dramatic, and feel very Fall. Again, the color didn't give them the mood they wanted when they tested it.
By chance, they met a decorative painter working on another room in the house, and told him about their struggles. He suggested they try a more bronze-y hue. He custom mixed a color using two different greens and golds. Surprisingly, it's not a metallic. (He did put a little bit of Benjamin Moore gold metallic around the edges of the niche to give it a little bit of a glow.)
"It's an ancient color and a modern color, which is an interesting juxtaposition. Ancient/Modern--exactly what we wanted," said Jayne.
Stephen Antonson: www.stephenantonson.com
Lindsey Adelman: www.lindseyadelman.com